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caoder 04-01-2013 04:04 PM

4 sheets of thick acrylic what to do?
Hi all,

I just got myself a few large pieces of acrylic. 4 sheets of ~64" x 14" x 1" acrylic shelves. I believe they are more than 1" thick, but for this purpose it should be fine.

What would you all do with it? and how :proud:
This is my first time with acrylics, so it'll be a learning experience for me.

NWA-Planted 04-01-2013 04:25 PM

Re: 4 sheets of thick acrylic what to do?
Well make a tank!!! Lol.

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caoder 04-01-2013 06:38 PM

what kind of bracing would be appropriate. Given that this is a shallow tank with extra thick acrylic, Maybe two braces going between the 2 long sides?
Also, where would you source acrylic cement, I'm in Montreal Canada fyi.

xmas_one 04-01-2013 06:42 PM

1" thick and 14" deep, you don't need any bracing! You would be better off buying the thickness you need for the tank that you want rather than making a 14" deep tank out of inch thick panels. It's gonna look weird.

caoder 04-01-2013 07:02 PM

well it was free and its in the shed, what else am I gunna do with it :) I am also looking to get some experience in acrylic tanks.

mistergreen 04-01-2013 08:28 PM

You'll need help cutting it unless you have the mechanical tools for it.

AaronT 04-01-2013 08:41 PM

Also, unless it is cast acrylic it's not really suitable for a tank.

jarvitron 04-01-2013 09:00 PM

God, you guys are a bunch of fuddy duddies. It's not casssst, it's gonna be a funny shaaaape.

Listen, as far as planted tanks go? It's 14" deep max! And FREE. Make a tank 64" long, 14" deep (13 inside) , 14" wide. Basically a double plus long 20L. Glue the faces to the front and back of the base, instead of doing it the "right" way. You have a whole inch of surface to bond, plus it's a friggin inch thick, there'll be no deflection when you fill it.

The crazy thickness of the plex will make it look like fish swimming in the middle of a trough of ice. 1" thick is hard to cut but clamp a straightedge and maybe rent a heavy duty circular saw, or better yet, since you only need one piece cut in this scenario, you outsource that to somebody local "cut me off two 16" pieces of this 14" stock and polish the edges".* See if you have a local plastic fab. Probably run you $10, if they won't take a six pack and a promise that you send them a picture when you're done.

Bingo bongo, you have a "rocks thrown by the lawnmower and little kids proof" outdoor pond tank. Or an indoor stream, ready to riparium plant a bank or riffle tank some hillstream loaches. Or a big shallow coral frag tank. You will not be able to put a HOB on that guy though, like 99% sure.

*obviously you need to measure the thickness of the stock, multiply times two and add to the 14" width, but you get the idea)

thelub 04-01-2013 09:08 PM

I agree. Make a tank! You could build a 4' tall tank out of 1" plexi w/out bracing so you're more than good at 14". This is a perfect time to practice working with acrylic. If you can do this, you're set to build a gigantic tank if you want.

thelub 04-01-2013 09:09 PM

Or you could make some nifty light bars out of it. It can be bent with a blowtorch and time. All kinds of things you can do with 1" acrylic.

mistergreen 04-01-2013 10:12 PM

You need a fine blade for the saws.

Craft is really important here. If you're not square, you wasted the plexiglass and will have to recut every panel.

All your base 04-02-2013 02:19 PM

Besides square, the edges need to be prepped for bonding. I'd be curious to know what the current edge treatment is. If they're flame polished it will probably craze really badly if you try to solvent weld it. Especially if it's low quality extruded junk (which it probably is, if it was shelves at one point).

I'd take it to a plastics shop and ask them to cut the pieces for the ends and run ALL the pieces through a router table to ensure the edges are flat/parallel/ready for solvent welding. This will not be their favorite job of the day (working on someone else's mystery material) so bringing donuts or beer will definitely help.

If you've never worked with acrylic, I'd probably also ask them if they have some random scraps laying around you could practice your bonding on. And get some weldon 3 or 4 and some syringes. And google the pins method for bonding acrylic.

jarvitron 04-02-2013 04:08 PM

4 sheets of thick acrylic what to do?
All the advice in here is great if you have more money than time. But transporting one sheet of this monster to a store and getting two panels cut will cost next to nothing. Show up with four huge panels and start asking them to prep it all and it will get expensive.

Don't be a "do-nothing DIYer" (I did it all myself! With a kit from the store!), with like five minutes if you tubing and several hours of careful work. Nobody ever forum argued their project finished.

caoder 04-02-2013 05:34 PM

thanks for all of the info, I'll be looking for local plastic shop to cut my single piece to size. After that i have a few thinner pieces of acrylics to play with to try welding. This will be a long shallow tank that I think will be great. Probably going to put shop lights over it when i finally get around to getting the materials and space prepped for this. I'll post some pics, but i don't think it'll be a problem as far as materials go.

caoder 04-02-2013 05:35 PM

Should the the sides go around the bottom piece, or should they go on top?

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